Stainforth to Ingleton
Here is a description of a linear walk Andy, Jill and I did in September that follows the edge of the Craven Fault – the geological system that separates the Yorkshire Dales from the Forest of Bowland. 

Start: Stainforth Village Car Park Ribblesdale BD24 9PF

Finish: Ingleton village centre

Distance: 12 miles

Time: 5 - 7 hours

Grade: Distance apart relatively easy apart from two steep ascents

Map: OS OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern and Western areas. Nearly all the route is on this map apart from a tiny section from Little Stainforth to Feizor which is on OS OL41 Forest of Bowland.


Map by kind permission of Johnston Press 


1. From the car park return to the B6479 Horton - Settle Road cross and turn right. After 100yds turn left into Dog Hill Brow. Follow the lane as it drops to cross the River Ribble


and then climb up to the hamlet of Little Stainforth. As you reach a crossroads keep ahead on a lane that soon peters out to a track leading up to a wooden gate.


Go through this into pasture and follow the path leading upwards towards an impressive crag - Smearsett Scar. The path passes to the left on this prominent feature levelling off


and then descends towards Feizor. As you near the settlement go over a wall stile on the right and follow the wall down to a large farm. Cross its yard to reach Feizor centre opposite Elaine's tearoom.


Elaine's tearoom is a favourite refreshment stop of Norwest club members and justly popular with visitors to the Dales. Turn left in front of it and follow the lane for 200yds before turning right onto a bridleway that runs alongside a large barn.


This will take you to Austwick. As the track is enclosed there is little difficulty in way finding.


After passing an isolated barn the route turns northwards (rather than west) passes close to Wood House on the right and soon after crosses Wood Lane another bridleway. Cross Austwick Beck by way of an ancient footbridge


and carry on until you reach a lane. Turn left for Austwick.

2. The next section of the route is a straightforward walk to Clapham but it would be remiss not to visit one of the Dales' most fascinating geological features - the Norber Erratics. More of them below. After entering Austwick turn right on Townhead Lane.


Follow this uphill leaving the village along a tree lined lane to reach a crossroads.


Turn left on Thwaite Lane and keep on it until you arrive in Clapham. For those wishing to see the Norber Erratics shortly after turning onto Thwaite Lane turn right over a ladder stile and cross the field to join a wall. Follow this to a gate


just below the escarpment. Bear left and then climb away from the wall to a sign post.


Follow the direction for Norber and then at a large cairn enter the huge boulder field - described by Wikipedia as "one of the finest groups of glacial erratic boulders in Britain." During the last episode of global warming 12,000years ago the retreating ice sheet deposited these gritstone rocks onto this limestone shelf below Ingleborough in an extensive scattering.


This is a great place to bring children who love exploring, clambering and hiding in amongst the rocks. Having viewed them return to the large cairn and then descend to the wall turning right to follow the base of Robin Proctors Scar.


After a ladder stile bear left on a grassy path at the corner of the wall to intercept Thwaite Lane. Turn right for Clapham. The final descent to the village is heralded by two tunnels


which were built in the 19th century to lower the lane below Ingleborough Hall Estate doubtless to keep the hoi polloi out of sight. The track leads to a road close to the parish church.


3. Cafes, pubs and tourist information centres are to the left as you arrive in Clapham but the route goes right. After passing the church gates cross over Clapham Beck and keep right with a fine view of a waterfall


issuing from an artificial lake hidden in the trees behind. A little further on there is an opportunity to visit the lake at the entrance of Ingleborough Estate Trail & Cave walk. The estate and hall were once the home of Reginald Farrer (1880 -1920) a renowned plant collector called "The Father of the English Rock Garden". Keep ahead on Eggshell Lane


to a junction joining the back road to Ingleton four miles away. In 300yds turn left onto a narrow enclosed bridleway (Laithbutts Lane)


leading through fields to the village of Newby. Newby seems large enough to have a pub or a store but is without these services and has been for many years. Turn left when you come to the village to reach a large village green. The way taking you to Cold Cotes is to the right of the chapel on the far side. After passing it


bear left onto an enclosed footpath. Keep on this to its end (about 600yds) and then cross over a ladder stile with Scale Mire Farm to your left. Bear right over a large field to a wall stile. In the next field aim towards the right hand corner. After crossing the wall keep ahead to follow a wall at first on your right. The nearer you get to Cold Cotes the more intricate the path becomes crossing and recrossing walls right then left to bring you on an enclosed path into the tiny hamlet.


When you reach road turn left. At the first junction keep right on Lowkber Lane. Follow this to the end and then turn right soon arriving on the Old Road to Ingleton.


Turn left for the village.